At 6 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the Thwing Ballroom, the undergraduate Indian Student Association (uISA) will light up Case Western Reserve University with the Diwali Dinner.
The food for the celebration will be provided by Jaipur Junction. The appetizers and drinks for the event will be samosas, chaat, and mango lassi. On the menu for dinner are malai kofta, shahi paneer, navratan korma, channa masala, naan, and chavaal. Desserts will be gulab jamun and ras mulai.
“I can’t wait for Diwali Dinner so I can finally eat Indian food again,” said freshman Soumya Rajupet.
Diwali (also known as Deepavali or Devali) is a holiday that is better known as the “Festival of Lights.” It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs. Technically, this year Diwali falls on Nov. 13.
The name “Diwali” translates into “row of lamps,” which are traditionally small clay lamps filled with oil. They are said to represent the victory of good over evil. These lamps are usually lit and kept outside houses during the night. They are said to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. People clean their houses and put out lights to impress Lakshmi since she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Many people celebrate Diwali by wearing new clothes, eating sweets and snacks with family and friends, and bursting firecrackers. The firecrackers are said to drive away evil spirits.
This holiday is during the end of the harvest season in most of India and, traditionally, the closing of accounts for businesses which depend on agriculture. Farmers and businessmen give thanks for the year that went by and pray for a good harvest for the year to come. Blessings from Lakshmi usually signify a good year ahead.
“Diwali is a time of celebration and reflection. It is a time to celebrate with those close to us. As a freshman, it’s my first time celebrating Diwali without my parents, and I’m certainly sad that I’m not able to be with them on this occasion. But, I’m also excited to be celebrating this festival with all my new friends that I have become extremely close to in the past three months. I want this Diwali to be a great success so I hope everyone can come out and celebrate with us,” said uISA Freshman Representative, Aravindan Krishnan.
Prasad, which is an edible offering that is blessed by God, are distributed at the end of all the religious rituals and pujas.
Diwali also signifies the return of the god Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshman from their 14 yearlong exile. It is said that they defeated a demon-king named Ravana. The people of Ayodhya, Lord Rama’s kingdom, celebrated the return of the king by lighting diyas (clay lamps) and bursting firecrackers.
Nowadays, Diwali has spread all over the world to places like Australia, New Zealand, United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
Freshman Sasha Ali said, “I’m really excited to go to Diwali dinner! I’ve never experienced Diwali before. It’ll be interesting to learn what it actually means.”